26 January 2010

Super Bowl Surrealism: Urge CBS to Cancel Anti-Choice Ad


Last week, CBS approved an explicitly anti-choice ad by Focus on the Family for Super Bowl Sunday, February 7.

The ad, according to the Women's Media Center, which is leading a campaign to pressure CBS to pull it, "is surrealistic in its argument that a woman who chooses not to have a child may be depriving the Super Bowl of a football player."

[Read this AP article about the ad and the Women's Media Center campaign.]

Surrealistic indeed. And dangerous as well -- particularly as health care reform hangs in the balance and abortion opponents in Congress continue to wield threats.

A letter sent to CBS by the Women's Media Center and supported by the Ms. Foundation and other women's organizations, which urges the immediate cancellation of the ad, reads:
Focus on the Family has waged war on non-traditional families, tried its hand at race baiting during the 2008 election, and is now attempting to use the Super Bowl to further ramp up the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding reproductive rights. By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will alienate viewers and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers. The decision to air this ad would be ethically, economically and politically disastrous for CBS. The content of this ad endangers women’s health, uses sports to divide rather than to unite, and promotes an organization that opposes the equality of Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and reproductive freedom.
Add your name to the petition.

25 January 2010

A Great Loss for Haiti and the Global Women's Movement

CNN reported today that three women from the Haitian women's movement perished in the earthquake: Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan, "founders of three of the country's most important advocacy organizations working on behalf of women and girls."

This is a tremendous loss for Haiti and for the global women's movement. One hopes that in their absence, other strong voices will rise up to continue their legacy, particularly as today's humanitarian crisis -- sure to endure well into the future -- impacts women and girls in uniquely devastating ways.

Jessica Ravitz of CNN.com writes of the void left by the deaths of Merlet, Marcelin and Coriolan as Haiti grapples with the disaster and the ongoing plight of Haitian women and girls:
With the three leaders gone, there is concern about the future of Haiti's women and girls. Even with all that's been achieved, the struggle for equality and against violence remains enormous.

The chaos that's taken over the devastated nation heightens those worries, said Taina Bien-Aimé, the executive director of Equality Now, a human rights organization dedicated to women.

Before the disaster struck last week, a survey of Haitian women and girls showed an estimated 72 percent had been raped, according to study done by Kay Fanm [a Haitian women's rights organization]. And at least 40 percent of the women surveyed were victims of domestic violence, Bien-Aimé said.

And humanitarian emergencies have been linked to increased violence and exploitation in the past, she said.

"From where we stand," Bien-Aimé wrote in an e-mail, "the most critical and urgent issue is what, if any, contingencies the relief/humanitarian agencies are putting in place not only to ensure that women have easy access to food, water and medical care, but to guarantee their protection."
Read the full article.

Reminder: Sherrybaby and Reproductive Justice - Wed 27 January 2010 Manhattan

Reminder: This Wednesday Night in Manhattan

Join the Ms. Foundation for Women and the New York University Wagner Women's Caucus for a screening of the 2006 award-winning film Sherrybaby starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and a discussion of reproductive justice.

When: Wednesday 27 January 2010
Cocktails at 6PM, Screening 6:30 - 8 PM

Where: Rudin Forum, 2nd Floor Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street
Manhattan [map]

More information from our early post.

22 January 2010

Jobs with Justice Links Community-Based Organizing and National Unions to Fight for Worker Rights

Jobs with Justice, a Ms. Foundation grantee partner, has been coordinating with the AFL-CIO and United Steelworkers in a major campaign to organize Los Angeles carwash workers.

"The campaign is seen as a national model of organizing low-wage workers with community support" said Jonathan P. Hiatt, chief of staff to the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation.

Last week, Jobs for Justice held its first National Workers' Rights Board Hearing of the New Year. "We were able to support the CLEAN Carwash Campaign in their efforts to win justice and dignity for carwash workers in Los Angeles," said Chelsea Carr, associate director of development.

The Jobs with Justice blog and the Los Angeles Times blog reported on the meeting.

15 January 2010

Crisis in Haiti

The Ms. Foundation for Women expresses our deep condolences and solidarity with the people of Haiti in this moment of unbelievable crisis.

As you seek ways to share your own solidarity and support, below are recommendations—based on our own and our colleagues’ experiences in the U.S. and around the world—to help guide your giving, as well as a preliminary list of social justice, community-based organizations that are accepting donations.

Consider Funding:
  • Community-based organizations with strong relationships on the ground that are best positioned to mobilize humanitarian relief for those who need it most.

  • Local organizations with a social justice-lens that are more likely to deliver effective, immediate relief within the context of a long-term strategy to rebuild.

  • Grassroots organizations with a gender lens that know how women are uniquely and disproportionately affected by disaster and can identify the best ways to meet women’s needs and elevate women’s solutions.
Here is a preliminary, but by no means exhaustive, list of groups organizing an immediate and long-term response to the crisis in Haiti:

The Global Fund for Women is trying to assess the extent to which their five Haitian partner organizations have been affected by the disaster. You can donate to support their long-term work to address gender-specific needs resulting from the earthquake through their Crisis Fund.

Grassroots International supports global movements for social change. They work with four main groups in Haiti and have a long history of providing emergency relief. Their Haitian partners, closely connected to the needs of their communities, are in a “key position to rebuild.”

Lambi Fund of Haiti strengthens civil society by channeling resources to community-based organizations that promote the social and economic empowerment of the Haitian people. They are currently helping peasant groups get food and essentials for their families and will help rebuild over the long-term.

Partners in Health has worked in Haiti for over two decades to bring sustainable, community-based health care and social justice to Haiti’s poor. They're mobilizing their more than 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants in Haiti, setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince, bringing in supplies through the Dominican Republic, and ensuring that field sites beyond the capital are equipped to address the needs of those fleeing the city.

Read more on our website.

13 January 2010

We'll Have What They're Having...

Beware: Reading Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks at last week's 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (where, in Cairo, in 1994, more than 180 countries came together to agree upon a Program of Action that declared women's reproductive health and rights as key to ensuring "quality of life" for all) gives one a bit of a Twilight-Zone effect. Are we existing on two planes at once? How is it possible for Secretary Clinton to be proclaiming the Obama Administration's support for reproductive health and rights around the world when they're on the Congressional health-care chopping block back at home, with the Administration seemingly standing idly by? Here are excerpts from her speech:
What is it we will do between now and 2015? Remember what was expected of us. All governments will make access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services a basic right.

However, vast inequities remain. Too often, still today in 2010, women and girls bear the burdens of regional and global crises, whether it’s an economic downturn or climate change or political instability. ...And 15 years after the Cairo conference, far too many women still have little or no access to reproductive health services, including family planning and maternal healthcare.

So we’re here today to examine the distance that remains to be traveled before the world fully realizes the ICPD goals. This is a journey that the Obama Administration and the United States Government will travel with you.

We are rededicating ourselves to the global efforts to improve reproductive health for women and girls. Under the leadership of this Administration, we are committed to meeting the Cairo goals.

Investing in the health of women, adolescents, and girls is not only the right thing to do; it is also the smart thing to do. That is why we are integrating women’s issues as key elements of our foreign policy agenda and in, especially, our Global Health Initiative and our Global Food Security Initiative.

We are doing all of these things because we have seen that when women and girls have the tools to stay healthy and the opportunity to contribute to their families’ well-being, they flourish and so do the people around them.
Read Secretary Clinton's full remarks.

Meanwhile, as Congress figures out the final health care bill, Ms. Foundation grantee, the National Women's Law Center, has produced a video about the consequences of allowing the Stupak amendment to become law. Watch it below and take action on their campaign site, A Woman Is Not a Pre-existing Condition.

08 January 2010

Sherrybaby and Reproductive Justice: A Film Screening and Conversation, 27 January 2010

Please join the Ms. Foundation for Women and the New York University Wagner Women's Caucus for a screening of the 2006 award-winning film Sherrybaby starring Maggie Gyllenhaal

Wine and light appetizers will be served

Where: Rudin Forum, 2nd Floor Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street
Manhattan [map]

When: Wednesday 27 January 2010
Cocktails at 6PM, Screening 6:30 - 8 PM

Cost: $8 suggested minimum donation, Free with NYU ID Card

Three years after 19-year-old Sherry Swanson enters prison with a heroin problem and a robbery conviction, she sets out to regain custody of her young daughter. Unprepared for the demands of the world she's stepped back into, Sherry's hopes of staying clean, getting a job, and becoming a responsible mother are challenged by the realities of unemployment, halfway houses and parole restrictions.

Think you know about Reproductive Rights?
Let's talk about Reproductive Justice!

The gains made by the movement for reproductive rights over the past 30 years are undeniable.

Now, as we move into the 21st Century, conversations are changing.

The reproductive justice framework focuses on justice, encompassing, but not limited to choice. The growing reproductive justice movement responds to the lack of economic, social and political power low-income women have to make healthy choices. It recognizes the need to provide resources to women who do have children or who wish to have children as well as those who do not.

Discussion will highlight the ground-breaking work of Ms. Foundation grantee partners including: Spark! Reproductive Justice Now, Migrant Health Promotion and National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Ms. Foundation for Women Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice.